Copenhagen Business School (CBS) | Semester Exchanges Blog

This is Ngoc Huynh, Class of ’23, and a Management-HRM Major with a Minor in Psychology. I am writing this about 98% through my Exchange in Copenhagen, Denmark (DK). I am officially done with exams, sightseeing, and Semester Exchange Journey! I originally pursued this opportunity to obtain an International Business Certificate and improve my resumé. In addition to that, I had a large interest in working abroad and expatriates. However, I got a lot more than that—as cheesy as this is, but I understand why people say going abroad is life-changing.

(Amager Strandpark; the water is very clear. This is technically still a part of Copenhagen, but it is a good breather from the city life.)

Going to Copenhagen made me become more mindful. I knew that Danes had a strong belief in giving equal opportunities and being open-minded while keeping to themselves. It is common for them to do their own things. When you are out, it is just you. Do not expect people to help/assist unless you are vocal and ask. There are no assumptions. Seeing it in real life was a totally different story, and I was shocked. Even so, I did not realize how vocal/active they can be about fighting for people’s rights. When the Abortion Crisis occurred in the US, Danes were protesting in front of the US Embassy—fighting for the rights of women. What they were doing would not affect what happens in the US. They cannot vote and did not put it on social media, but they still did it to show their solidarity to the cause. There is graffiti all over Copenhagen referencing #BlackLivesMatter, what is going on in Ukraine, legalization of marijuana, etc. These things do not directly affect them, but they are still creating awareness and helping these voices be heard. These people are not internet social justice warriors—they are in the trenches, and I wish the US was like that as well. I love that they are willing to pay high taxes to give people in their country free education, free healthcare, and basically an opportunity to have a better life.

(A poster about a Global Marijuana March in Christiania. Marijuana is not legalized in Denmark, however, in Christiania—“no man’s land,” the laws of the land become murky, however, this is where recreational marijuana occurs. Police are stationed there, but its usage is overlooked! Long story short, it is complicated.)

A course that helped me assimilate into the Danish culture, stimulate my brain, and recognize mindfulness was Negotiations. My professor was a whole show. He taught workshops, wrote multiple books, and was an International Business negotiator himself. He was well-versed in everyone’s cultural background—he explained nuances, folklore, stereotypes, etc., and was a great facilitator. The class was his stage, and the students were the audience. Most of us were International Exchange students, but there were some Danish students as well. As a result, whenever did our Negotiation Exercises, we all had to remember the cultural differences we had and adjust to them. It was interesting to see Hofstede’s 6 Dimensions of Culture in real life. To have a successful negotiation and come out with a deal, you must think and be mindful. As a Human Resources major with a Psychology minor, I loved the class. It appealed to all of my senses. Also, the last negotiation we did, in his words—was “so Danish.” By then, 4 months had passed, and everyone was a different cultural animal. I thought that showed how effective he was in teaching us. Sadly, this was the professor’s last semester before retiring, but he was truly one of the best I was under. Typically, I shop for all of my professors at TAMU. If I am paying tuition, then I want to learn under professors who would benefit me intellectually. I typically end up with professors who I enjoy even if they are tough and do not obtain an A; it is about the intrinsic benefit. I was not able to do that this time due to the Course Selection Process—which honestly could be improved (10/10 prefer Howdy, even though I keep getting assigned to the 4AM timeslots), so getting assigned to this man was luck of the draw.

Overall, my assumptions were correct about Copenhagen. I did A LOT of research beforehand, and it came in handy. There was an assumption that everyone wore black, and they did. There was another assumption of them keeping to themselves and having dark humor, and they did as well. But, most importantly, there was an assumption of them being progressive, and they were. This is hard to live up to, but they succeeded in my opinion. They were one of the first countries to legalize same-sex marriage, advocate for gender equality (before it was cool, and this is reflected in work and romantic life), free education, free healthcare, etc. As someone who was required to obtain a Residence Permit, I was essentially given the same rights as a Danish Citizen. I had access to these. Luckily, I did not have to use them, but it would have been beneficial. There are people in the US that cannot afford healthcare, and it is sad. When I see what is going on in Copenhagen, I cannot help but be wishful for the US to reach that level one day.

Before I came to Copenhagen, I was burnt out. There was a lot going on, and I felt like I could not remove myself from the situation. I was academically successful, my private was relatively good, and this was the healthiest I have been in the longest. Even so, I could not help but feel dissatisfied and like a failure. Everyone around me was getting married or pregnant. They were getting jobs and moving on with their lives. I could not relate. However, thanks to this experience, my professors, my roommate, the people I met there, I feel like I have my groove back. My exchange gave me the privilege to take myself out of where I was and be put in a different setting. There were obviously ups and downs during this Exchange, but that is life. This made me realize that I would like to go abroad again one day—for work, pleasure, or to live wherever. You are where you are, but it is how you adapt and prevail!

(A very large sculpture located in Christiania! It is nice to look at and a great message; the world is in our hands, and it is, however, you would like to interpret it!)

Lastly, I want to thank my sponsors, advisors, friends, and family for being a part of this journey. I would also like to thank Mays Business School and the Center for International Business Studies (CIBS) for creating opportunities like this for students like me! It has truly been one of a kind, and this would not have ever occurred without their love and support. I got more than what I expected from this opportunity, and I am truly grateful and humbled.

This is my last blog EVER, and goodbye for now Copenhagen. I will be back one day!

Categories: Denmark

This is Ngoc Huynh, Class of ’23, and a Management-HRM Major with a Minor in Psychology. I am writing this about 85% through my Exchange in Copenhagen, Denmark (DK). At this point, I have only 1 take-home exam left (05/31/22 – 06/07/22), and there is about 1 month left to go. I am attending Copenhagen Business School (CBS) and taking 12 credit hours over here. I can finally say that I am feeling homesick. However, a large factor contributing to that is my roommate leaving to go back home to Hong Kong. I literally went to the airport and sent her off. When I came back to our place, it still did not feel real until I woke up and saw her side of the room empty. We really bonded and I will miss her. Thanks to the power of the internet and WhatsApp, we can keep in contact! Anyway, I will be exploring and having fun in Copenhagen in her name! I believe I am just feeling homesick because the end is coming. Though it is fun, there are just some things you do miss. I usually do not travel back and forth from College Station to my hometown because it is an 8+ hours drive to and back. Because of that, I cherish summer because it means family and friends time for me. In addition to that, many of my close friends are graduating, so it sucks that I could not physically be there for them. Me staying until June 14 does put a damper in my original summer plans, but I chose that because CBS did not release their exam date until basically the start of the semester (February 1-ish) and I wanted to be safe.

Me and my roommate, Tiffany, at the airport before she left and after we were fighting against Father Time.

Right now, I am preparing for the end by preparing for my last exam, buying souvenirs, and trying to figure out my coming-back meal. From what I noticed, I believe that Danes love the Japanese culture, artisanal goods, and sweets. (They have one of the highest candy consumptions in the world!). They have that all around, so I am keeping an eye out. Also, I am starting this process early because I do not know if COVID regulations will be changing, so it is better to start a head of time. I will not have to fight against time, COVID, and government/company regulations. Moving on, typically, I do not support Pandora USA because it is just very simple and basic jewelry, but I will admit that Pandora DK hits differently. It makes sense since Denmark is the birthplace of Pandora. They have so many beautiful pieces and these designs are not available in the US market. Because of that, I bought my mom a whole set for Mother’s Day, her souvenir, her whatever, etc. It is kind of “one-of-a-kind” and a great set that encapsulates “Denmark.” My other 3 sisters are all figured out. Luckily, I am able to find almost everyone in my nucleus family something that relates to their interests, my wallet, and Denmark. I am just struggling to find a gift for my dad since he does not care for food, clothes, alcohols, etc.—he is a succulent; he just needs water and sunlight. My roommate, for her souvenirs, focused on artisanal foods and craftsmanship, so she got chocolates, cheeses from specialty stores in Torvehallerne (Copenhagen Food Hall/Market) and pottery/porcelain from places like the Royal Copenhagen Porcelain and Studio Arhoj.

My view when I was going around and buying souvenirs.

Yeah, there’s really not much to say this blog. I was literally fighting for my life against a Principles of Corporate Finance exam, so I could not physically allow myself to go out and about. I was just more focused on the exam because if I did not pass this course—literally, only this course, I would have had to graduate a whole semester later. This course is a prerequisite to my capstone course, and I really needed it. No pressure, of course. Now, it is just me trying to finish up a few things. I just want to be able to see more sites, buy more souvenirs, and just leisurely enjoy my last month here!

Categories: Denmark

This is Ngoc Huynh, Class of ’23, and a Management-HRM Major with a Minor in Psychology. I am writing this about halfway through my Exchange in Copenhagen, Denmark (DK). I am attending Copenhagen Business School (CBS) and taking 12 credit hours over here. I believe I have finally made it over the honeymoon period because I am finally experiencing some homesickness. I am not really missing my family—luckily, my mom calls me every other night, my sibling group chat is still going hard, and my friends are staying in contact. Because there is a 7-hour gap, my mom calls while she is picking up the kids (3:00 PM) while I am preparing for bed (10:00 PM). In general, I love telling everyone that I am keeping in contact with that “I am in the future.” The one thing I am really missing is food. I miss my mom’s kitchen and the vastness of the American grocery store. I find it hilarious that Denmark’s grocery stores have aisles for “Tex-Mex” (their idea of what Tex-Mex is) and Asian food. Everything else is pretty Danish. Sadly, this wiki link perfectly explains why the grocery and food options are the way they are: I only say “sadly” because you should not really be able to fit a majority of one’s cultural food in 1 Wikipedia page. Other than that, I am still having fun.

A large factor in this is the fact that I have taken 2/4 of my exams! Honestly, the 2 examination periods were interesting. Because your grade at CBS depends on your exam grade, you do not get homework, projects, reports, or anything. You just have your lectures, readings, and supplement materials. Though that does give you more time, personally, I hate that. I hate that my entire semester is based on 1 thing. Luckily, I knew that before coming, but still. I would rather have 2-3 exams along with homework and participation grades than just 1 exam. I am not a gambler or an information regurgitator so that just made me a little sad. Anyways, I had a 72-hour take-home exam and an oral exam based on a written report. The take-home exam was honestly very reminiscent of a final project. I had all my notes, textbooks, videos, etc. to reference, so it was not too crazy. It was stressful, but not impossible. The oral exam, however, was different. This was literally an “if-you-know-you-know” type of thing, so that was nerve-racking. Either way, for May Business School (I am not going to speak for Texas A&M overall), you just need a 4 (basically a D) for the credit to be transferable. HOWEVER, there is a weird gap. For some reason, for CBS, a 02 (basically an E) is the lowest passing grade, so if you get that, you are not eligible for their retake exam and that credit is not transferable. The only thing you can do is submit a grade complaint to make it lowered to a 00 and do the retake. But, per usual, retakes are usually more insane than the original, so try to avoid that—I know I am. It would also be annoying if your retake date is after the Exchange because that means you would have to be very conscious of the time and date since you will be taking it based on Denmark time in the United States. Also, CBS is very kind, so you have a whole portal dedicated to your exams.

(Literally, the exam portal. It is very easy to use, so don’t worry.)

On a lighter note, I have more time for myself. To celebrate my freedom, I went on a trip to Malmö, Sweden with my roommate (Tiffany) and her friends. Denmark and Sweden are so close to each other that it just takes 30 minutes to get there by train. Also, I would recommend going because it is very common for Danes to take trips there and it is less expensive than Copenhagen. All of this is within walking distance, so you do not have to deal with transportation other than going on the train to and back from Malmo. Overall, we all had a great time. Here is the itinerary; Tiffany literally found a blog and we based our trip on that:

  • 09:25 Arrival
  • 09:30 Breakfast: Lilla Kafferosteriet
  • 10:30 St. Peter’s Church (Free)
  • 11:00 City Hall (Free)
  • 11:15 Form Design Museum (Free)
  • 12:30 Moderna Museet Malmö (Free)
  • 13:00 Disgusting Food Museum (160 SEK)
  • 14:30 Lunch: Jensen’s Bøfhus
  • 15:45 City Library (Free)
  • 16:45 Malmö Castle (20 SEK)
  • 18:15 Turning Torso (Uhhh, you can only look at it and not enter. This is a residential area, but Free)
  • 18:45 Skatepark (Free)
  • 19:15 Dinner: Max Burger
  • 20:30 Departure

We did not visit turning Torso and the Skatepark, but it is something that is possible. We got really tired and hungry after the Malmö Castle—which is not just a castle. It is essentially a museum with multiple exhibitions within a castle.

(Me on a train in Copenhagen Central Station/København H waiting to depart.)

(Random place we found when we were walking on a bridge in Malmö, Sweden)

(Me in St. Peter’s Church in the children’s area.)

Anyways, by now, I only have about 2 months and 2 exams left of this Exchange. Time has gone by quickly, but it was kind of anticlimactic. I was expecting to be like Selena Gomez in her movie, Monte Carlo—somehow find a cute guy, fall in love, dramatically leave each other, and then unite. However, in all fairness, I have literally been trying to go for the past 2 years and I live humbly in comparison to my peers. Hopefully, I will be exploring more of Denmark in the next blog, so I am looking forward to that.

Categories: Denmark

Hej Once Again!

This is Ngoc Huynh, Class of ’23, and a Management-HRM Major with a Minor in Psychology. I am writing this over a month in Copenhagen, Denmark (DK). I am attending Copenhagen Business School (CBS) and taking 12 credit hours over here. I am finally getting used to it here and I am honestly still loving it. It is literally a fancy version of Texas, however, I will admit, I am not a partygoer in the US—and I am definitely not one here—so my view is probably not like many. My roommate, who is from Hong Kong (HK), along with her peers all find DK boring, but, in all fairness, HK is DEFINITELY one of the faster-paced countries due to their competitive work-life, food hubs, and never-ending commute. For this blog, I am just writing to update on what’s going on with my life. No one really goes to DK from Texas A&M, so there is really not much to go from.

Anyways, my housing location (Svanejev—located in Nørrebro), takes about 40 minutes to walk from the campus. At first, I was dissatisfied with how far away I was from the other students, but I am kind of grateful for it. Nørrebro is where the “normal” people live and I love that I can actually see a snapshot of how Danish people actually live. There is literally a school in front and to the side, businesses all over, and grocery stores nearby. I love how easy it is to buy groceries; the closest store (REMA 1000) is 3 minutes away and down the street-ish is Fotex and Netto. There are also local businesses that sell fruits, vegetables, and knick-knacks. You can literally say, “Honey, I am going to get some milk. Be back in 5.” Interestingly enough, because DK has a focus on sustainability, you cannot buy in bulk and there is not a lot of variety. In the US, I go shopping every 2 weeks, but here, I have to go weekly because my food will actually go bad and I have limited fridge space. I am slightly better than most in expense and waste-wise because I meal-prep. Once again, I really recommend honing your cooking skills because eating out is very expensive. I do not know what’s going on, but what I spend for a week’s worth of groceries (~125 DK) is about 1 meal (~100 DK). If that is not ridiculous, I do not know what is. Also, just in case, I do buy random snacks, drinks, and knick-knacks as well. I already have a few favorite bakeries, and I am not starving. Shout out to Krumme & Co. (great Romkuglers), Andersen & Maillard (great Expresso Croissant), and Favori Baklavaci (everything is great)—the owner is a kind older gentleman, and the desserts are divine. I enjoy their walnut baklavas and chocolate cakes.

(A meal at Shake Down near CBS, however, I will admit that it was actually expensive, and I will only go if there is a deal—I’m sorry that I am not sorry.)

But, moving on, by now, I have finally established a schedule for myself—commuting, studying, meal-prepping, me time, etc. Commuting to school is honestly wild, but I can only become stronger and grow from it. I am sadly too short for the bikes at Swapfiets, a business collaborating with CBS that rent out bikes, so I cannot ride. I am also very stubborn and refuse to pay for the Metro, so I walk. The costs add up (140 DK per week) and I could honestly use that money for something else. Luckily, it is very therapeutic, and it wakes me up for my 8AMs. This is my cardio—period. Anyways, at CBS, almost every week has a different schedule. It changes a bit—be it room, class time, or format, and it is kind out of sudden. The professors are typically not even aware of the changes, so I recommend checking daily. I have had 3 incidents where something at the last second got changed. In addition to that, there are certain courses that start and end at different times. My roommate, who is taking the same number of courses as me, goes to campus literally twice a week and I go from Monday to Friday. Then, 2/4 of my courses are ending this month, while her exams are more concentrated in May. Your grade is dependent on that 1 exam, so there is pressure to it. There are pros and cons, but I am just grateful that I will have more time to explore DK after that. In all honesty, I believe if you do what you are supposed to do, you will be fine. This is a semester exchange—not a trip. Calm down. Please go to school, but do not take yourself so seriously as this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance.

(Please notice how the trees are purposefully trimmed bald. If you took HORT 201 with Professor David Reed, this is a throwback.)

Basically, right now, I am just fighting for my life with school. I am basically taking 2 summer courses with 2 normal Spring courses. I am still enjoying DK, but I believe I am still in the honeymoon phase. I literally go check out a bakery every week to try something new, cook whatever I want, go to school, and keep in contact with my family. However, it has been interesting to hear the different experiences my peers have been experiencing. For example, because DK is small and quite homogenous (93.7% White), they are not used to Asians. As an Asian myself, personally, I have not experienced anything crazy. They, on the other hand, have been assumed to come from Wuhan even though they are Singaporean. In all fairness, I look like I bite, and I do carry self-defense weapons on my body. But sadly, when you are Asian and if you are not in Asia, you are a minority and that is just the reality of the situation. On a lighter note, the days are being longer, warmer, and less windy, so I am looking forward to that.

Categories: Denmark